Shoeboxes are now available for Operation Christmas Child – a popular program to support underprivileged youth around the world.
Donors will pick up a shoebox from the Estevan Alliance Church, or supply a box of their own. They will mark whether the container is for a boy or a girl, and the age group of the recipient.
This year, the need is great and the outreach of the program is extensive. Shoeboxes filled with gifts for youngsters will be heading to such places as Sierra Leone where the deadly Ebola crisis continues, and will probably still be around for several months yet. Children in Uruguay, El Salvador, Guatamala, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, and Equatorial Guinea, Venezuela, Nicarauga, Chile (Easter Island), Haiti and Senegal will be receiving packages from Canadians and more specifically Estevan residents, this year.
Last year this community alone sent 1,411 shoeboxes under the OCC program to children in need, and it is believed that number can be exceeded this year.
It’s a local opportunity to spread some joy, compassion and faith to kids around the world.
Those filling the shoe boxes will have to keep a few simple suggestions in mind. The first is to provide a modest $7 donation with the gift box to help cover the transportation and delivery costs.
Secondly, determine the age group and gender of the child you have in mind and fill the box accordingly. The suggestion is that you can fill a box for children aged two to four, five-to-nine or 10 to 14. Labels to indicate the age appropriate boxes are available on the brochures and can be accessed from www.samaritanpurse.ca
Ensure the box you are filling is a shoe box or shoe box sized, since it is imperative that the size remains consistent so that shipping can be carried out efficiently.
Third, drop the box or boxes off at the Alliance Church, 140 King Street Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on the evenings of Nov. 18,19, 20 and 21 from 4 to 8 p.m.
The absolute last deadline is Nov. 22 at 4 p.m.
The co-ordinator for this year’s OCC is Jillian Ursu.
Some helpful hints that are included in the brochure include gift ideas and suggestions such as placing some school related supplies in the box such as pencils, pens, crayons, note pads and picture books. Hygiene items are also popular such as facecloths, bar soap (in sealable bag), toothbrushes (but not toothpaste) and combs. Toys are also welcomed, such as stuffed animals, little musical instruments, hair clips, costume jewelry, t-shirts, socks, hard candy in a bag. Do not include decks of standard playing cards, used items (due to customs regulations), any liquids that freeze, melt or leak and items that may send a negative message such as war-related items like toy guns or knives.
The final suggestion for packing is to include a personal note and/or a photo in the shoebox, but not inside the donation envelope, which is only to be used to contain the cash or cheque to cover the $7 contribution for expenses. If the donor is sending multiple boxes, it is advised to send one cheque to cover the cost of all boxes in one envelope. Place the envelope in the box on top of the packed items. The contributions may also be made online at SamaritansPurse.ca
The final task is the drop off at the Alliance Church where arrangements are made for a common freight carrier to take the boxes to a central overseas distribution centre such as Calgary for delivery to the young people before Christmas.